Sunday, August 31, 2008

This Is Halloween Season

Well August is over. That means it's time for retailers to put out their Halloween merchandise. It seems quick but it makes some sense when you think about it. The demand for back-to-school stuff decreases when school begins at the start of September, and the next major seasonal event isn't until the last day of October. They gotta sell something in between. Yet I don't know why they start selling Christmas stuff even before the day of Halloween.

I do love Halloween stuff though. Especially the lower grade cheaper stuff you find in drug stores and ninety-nine cent stores. It's all endearingly schlocky.

Not a lot of variety here in this sea of black. It's a mix of skeletons, grim reapers, and the ubiquitous Scream Ghostface. There's probably some Batman and Darth Vader in there too.

I appreciate how the villains of the 1980s slasher films have become highly marketable cultural icons. They're sort of our modern day Universal Monsters (and I like those characters too). So now we can purchase lovable animated dolls of a heavily scarred child killer and a savage murderous deformed man.

My little sister in one those makeup faces plastic masks. I actually believe these type of masks can be very creepy. See also Alice, Sweet Alice.

Who knows what evil is being plotted by this masked man?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fullmetal Follow-Up

According to Anime News Network there's a new Fullmetal Alchemist anime in the works.

As great as the first series was it wrapped things up pretty definitively, I thought. The idea of revisiting the series and trying to continue it doesn't sit well with me. However this new series might not be a sequel. It could be a re-telling or something entirely different that falls under the Fullmetal name.

The most obvious guess would be that this new series will follow the storyline of the manga much more closely. The original series took some grand liberties with the source material though it was ultimately better for it.

The announcement of the new series was made on the obi strip of the latest tankōbon release of the still ongoing manga. I should clarify that this in of and itself doesn't indicate anything about the new anime series. Right now all we have is speculation. It will probably be awhile before we learn any serious details.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Am Jack's Awesome DVD Set

The Nightmare Before Christmas Ultimate Collector's Edition will be released this Tuesday. The DVDs come encased in a talking Jack Skellington bust. IGN has a video demonstration. It's pretty dang cool. On the down side it's not at all cheap with a MSRP of $179.98. It might turn out to be pretty limited however as Amazon already has it listed as discontinued. Whatever number is made available on Tuesday is probably all that will be produced.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Battlestar Begins

This is the trailer for Caprica, the Battlestar Galactica prequel series coming to Sci-Fi Channel. The two hour pilot will air in December of this year and it remains to be seen if the series will be picked up beyond that.

I'm a huge Galactica fan and I'm eager to learn about the origins of the Cylons, but I don't know how it'll work as an ongoing series. Unless the pilot turns out to be really great I'll probably be content if a full series doesn't happen. Also doesn't the creation of a humanoid machine this early on in the story negate the surprise when they start showing up in droves later?

You know what would be a good idea for a spin-off? A series set during the first Cylon War. That way we can see Bill "Husker" Adama killing the frak out of some toasters. At the very least you could attract more casual viewers with that show than you could with a science fiction political drama.

On other barely related Sci-Fi Channel notes, the network has canceled Stargate Atlantis. I'm not too troubled by this news as I was never a fan. They're now going to be coming out with Stargate Universe which will take place on a starship as it travels throughout space. They're taking the Stargate out of Stargate. And turning it into every other sci-fi series since the inception of Star Trek.

Lastly I recommend checking out Gurren Lagann on Ani-Monday if you haven't been already. Although I'm not sure why they chose to pair this zany Super Robot homage with the inconceivably bleak Now and Then, Here and There. Let's just say these two anime series take highly divergent viewpoints on children on the battlefield.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

They're baaaack.

And you know what? I might actually get them this time. I've never owned the Star Wars Saga in any format. I had decided to hold out for some magical über-edition that I now believe Lucas just isn't interested in releasing.

These new box-sets are just a repackaging of the currently available individual releases. They're not too bad though. This is the first time the prequel trilogy has been made available as a set. The unaltered theatrical versions of the classic trilogy are included, albeit in non-anamorphic transfers.

Yeah I'm compromising. I'm only human.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's a Lion! It's huge!

So it seems Fox Regency has dropped their live action Voltron movie and the rights will be picked up by Relativity Media. (No I haven't heard of them either.) Relativity hopes to do a lower budgeted movie with most of the film rendered in CGI. The current script takes place in a post-apocalyptic New York and Mexico, and not across several fictional alien worlds like the toon.

I might be stating the obvious when I suggest this all sounds like a bad idea. I'm not entirely thrilled with the prospect of a Voltron movie in the first place. Movie execs seriously believe everything needs to be turned into a movie. And if you are going to make a movie, don't scrimp on the budget. Giant combining robot lions can't look cheap. I'm getting tired of the excessive green screening. They're even heavily altering the plot of the original which is a Hollywood cliche at this point.

You know what I would like to see in a Voltron movie? The Vehicle Voltron. Just to mess with people's heads. Those episodes are coming to DVD but I doubt they'll sell well. Besides being more obscure than the lion Voltron, those vehicle designs make for boring cover art.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Le Manta Noir

Congratulations Mr. Phelps on your record setting eight gold medals.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Running the Asylum

According to Game Informer, Eidos is currently working on a Batman game for next year called Batman: Arkham Asylum. It's a stealth game set in (surprise) Arkham Asylum. It's hard for me to get excited about a Batman game considering his poor track record for the medium. And I don't care for the way this particular game wears it's grittiness on its sleeve. Still the game is being written by Paul Dini, best known for being a major contributor of the various DC animated series. Plus putting Batman in a stealth game seems like a no-brainer that no one else has tried yet.

What's especially interesting is that there's another Batman video game coming soon. This one is being published by Electronic Arts and is based on The Dark Knight. It takes a cue from the Spider-Man 2 game and puts the hero in a GTA style open world setting. It was originally intended to be released at the same time as the movie's theatrical release. There have been some crazy rumors about the delay but supposedly the truth is the game isn't shaping up very well. A poorly designed video game movie adaptation? It's shocking I know.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Judging a DVD By Its Cover 4

Another installment already? The internet works fast.

I have a weakness for monsters fighting each other which might explain why I find this cover so freaking awesome. It's a three disc set and I'm sure the third disc is a useless digital copy, but at least they're including it in addition to the bonus materials and not in place of them like other studios.

As predicted last time, the two-disc edition of Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull uses the same image of Indy as the Blu-Ray edition. Yes my powers of prescience are that amazing folks. :P

This complete series collection for The Real Ghostbusters comes packaged in a replica of the Ghostbuster's firehouse, albeit covered in a copious amount of slime. I guess it's an accurate representation of the series, as Slimer more or less took over the show in its later years.

How much more black could this be? A lot more black actually. The first Death Note boxset continues the motif from the individual DVDs of featuring a collage of screencaps. The box set doesn't feature any character artwork though, instead going for a dark minimalistic look. I have mixed feelings about it. I get what they were going for but it's a bit plain.

It's been awhile since the last time a season set of The Simpsons was released. Now that they've finished up with the Simpsons family it looks like they're going to be continuing the "head" sets with other citizens of Springfield. Alas Krusty just doesn't look right without his side hair.

I appreciate how they tried to incorporate the classic poster art for the masterpiece Vertigo into the background of this DVD release, but they should have used it as the main image. I'm as afraid of giant headed Jimmy Stewart as he's apparently afraid of us.

My opinion on the next two covers are the same so I'll group them together. The Blu-Ray cover art for The Thing and Young Frankenstein use the original theatrical poster art, even though the current DVD releases for both titles do not. Both pieces of artwork are predominantly blue and they look very pleasing to the eye housed in a Blu-Ray case.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Judging a DVD By Its Cover 3

It's time again for me to critique the artwork of upcoming DVD and Blu-Ray releases, because I love offering praise and petty nitpicks.

The single disc edition of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull uses the theatrical poster art. It looks great and matches the individual releases of the original movies from earlier this year. I dislike having the critic's quote on the cover though.

The Blu-Ray for Crystal Skull uses the teaser poster which focuses on just Indy. It'd be even nicer without the gold border. Presumably the two-disc set will use the same artwork.

The single disc edition of Iron Man uses the theatrical poster art just like Crystal Skull. And like Crystal Skull it's mostly awesome except for the quote at the bottom.

The two-disc art for Iron Man looks better suited for a video game. The CG rendering of ol' Shell-head is too unrealistic. It doesn't match his appearance within the film. It seems the two-disc set will feature a slipcover that will reveal Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark underneath. That's kinda neat.

The artwork for Speed Racer looks too cluttered as it includes Speed, Racer X, the Mach 5, and the Shooting Star. And it fails for leaving out Trixie. I also want to mention the content of this Blu-Ray release. It will be a three disc set but that's not as awesome as it sounds. One disc will be an interactive DVD game for the kiddies and another will be a digital download of the film, a recent phenomenon in home video that I'm no fan of. Worse of all the movie itself will not feature TrueHD audio. It's a shame because HD media was created for movies like this one.

There's something seriously creepy about Chucky when you're a kid, but then you grow out of it and you realize how goofy these movies really are. This artwork nails the early creepy Chucky and makes me nostalgic for the time I was afraid of dolls.

This is third release for The Big Lebowski on DVD. I'm not sure it's necessary but it's got some nice cover art. The Big Lebowski is equal parts epic and mundane and think I this art suits the film nicely. If the Jesus doesn't turn around he's gong to get squashed by that bowling ball.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Who Markets the Watchmen?

I probably shouldn't write two posts about movie posters in a row. Ah well.

Warner Bros have revealed a series of character posters for Watchmen. The Blog@Newsarama has an article about these posters and one about the original in-house comic advertisements that inspired them. I hadn't seen those ads before but I suspected that there was something more to them. They seemed like something straight out of the comic, even if technically they aren't from the comic.

I've read people on the net take issue with the fact that the phrase "Who Watches the Watchmen?" is clearly visible on a few of these posters. In the comic the line is always partially obscured. That may be the case in the comic itself, but as you can see in the above link that wasn't the case for the ads the posters are based on.

I also want to say something about the Ozymandias poster in particular. Some see it as something of a spoiler, but I disagree. I won't point out what exactly makes the poster a spoiler but there's nothing that gives anything specific away. It's only a spoiler if you already know what happens. Still I'm predicting Watchmen will end up being one of the most spoiled movies ever. I'm glad I've already read it.

And hey look it's Bubastis!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Goku on the Horizon

This is the Japanese teaser poster for Dragonball. It's the first unqualified awesome thing we've seen of this movie. Why is Japan doing such a better job promoting this American production?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Clones, Cybermen, and Comic Villains

July was a good month for hauls mostly because of some great convention finds, as well as the launch of the next era of Star Wars.

Saturday, July 26th was the official release date for Star Wars The Clone Wars merchandise. That morning I went early to get the Target exclusive Commander Fox figure. I also got Anakin and Captain Rex. Yesterday I went searching for the 501st Trooper. No luck so far.

One of the perks of attending conventions is being able to buy items first hand that you normally wouldn't be able to. Doctor Who has been my favorite TV show for a few years now and the only thing that kept me from buying the action figures is that they weren't easily attainable in the U.S. At Anime Expo I picked up a Cyberman and the Doomsday boxset. The latter includes a Cyberman, Dalek Sec and the Tenth Doctor in 3D glasses. Yes, I know it's odd that I went to a Japanese animation convention and came home with toys from a live action British TV show. At Comic-Con I got the Ninth Doctor with the Auton parts from the first episode.

At Comic-Con I also bought Marvel Legends Loki and Blackheart, both from series thirteen. These two figures have been minor grails of mine for a short while. With them I now have all the pieces to assemble the Onslaught Build-A-Figure.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Thoughts About Comic-Con

Yes, that's me in Castle Greyskull.

So Comic-Con was awesome but it wasn't entirely smooth sailing. There was a major accident that backed traffic up for hours. We got there late, but the only significant negative impact for me was missing out on certain swag. If nothing else that shows you where my priorities lie.

A weird side affect of attending Comic-Con? When I look at photos on the internet or coverage on TV I'm able to recognize certain locations. It feels really strange but for some reason I get a kick out of it.

I didn't attend any panels but thanks to the internet I don't feel like I missed out on much. I've seen poor quality video of the footage for X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Tron 2 (or Tr2n as they're calling it). I'd provide links but they're already long gone. I don't understand this policy to have convention footage removed from the web. It's going to be widely available anyways eventually. Is it to make the panel attendees feel extra special for seeing it in person, even if it's only for a brief time?

The biggest disappointment of the con for me was the lack of any new The Dark Knight Movie Masters action figures. There is a Target exclusive Bat-Pod coming. At Mattel's panel they mentioned considering making Lucius Fox and Commissioner Gordon figures. I'm extremely skeptical about that. Also look who's coming in the five inch line.

Speaking of action figures and potential movie spoilers, here's a figure of Jason from next year's Friday the 13th remake. I don't like it. The same company, Mezco, also has the license for the new Wolf Man movie but they kept that figure under wraps.

People complain that as Comic Con has grown in popularity that it's lost its focus. This being my first Comic-Con, I can't really make a comparison. There was a sizeable video game presence which apparently is a recent development. I think this has something to do with the loss of the traditional E3. The gaming stuff does seem slightly more jarring than the movie, TV, and collectibles areas.

Here are a few quotes from Comic-Con I found around the web:

At The Spirit panel Samuel L. Jackson talks about owning the action figures based on his characters.

"having fun with 'Afro-Samurai...They're all over, I catch Shaft staring at Mace Windu, Frozone flying around"

Soon he can add The Octopus and eventually Nick Fury to his collection.

Kevin Smith explains to Zack Snyder the purpose of Comic-Con.

"Once it comes out they can stop doing this shit forever...The only reason there has ever been a San Diego Con is so that one day someone would make the Watchmen movie."